Minnesota Man Acted In Short Film, And Then Put A $10,000 Hit On The Director

“I’d love nothing more than to have one of his fingers or an ear in a jar of alcohol,” Kevin Condren told an undercover cop while plotting revenge against James Sobanski.

By Daniel Egitto
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How Did The Police Hear About Ken Condren's Murder For Hire Scheme?

A Minnesota man insisting a videographer swindled him out of $150,000 tried to have the artist offed by a hitman, according to Oxygen’s Murder for Hire.”

Kevin Condren, 62, met videographer James Sobanski after he placed a Craigslist ad in 2016, according to “Murder for Hire.” Condren ran a fantasy sex dungeon alongside his wife, a professional dominatrix. He offered Sobanski $1,000 a day for recording sessions in the BDSM space. Sobanski told “Murder for Hire” that he wasn’t thrilled about the venue, but he was out of work at the time, so he agreed.

“I stand with making sure my kids are provided for,” he said. “So, I’m just gonna take this ride and see where it goes.”

For a while, things seemed to be going well. The two got along, and when Condren heard that Sobanski had an idea for a movie about a musician who could only get inspiration by killing people, he ponied up $50,000 to get production rolling, Sobanksi told “Murder for Hire.”

Condren even acted in the short film, portraying a homeless man, according to Sobanski, and he was pleased with the finished product, even though he didn’t make his investment back. In fact, Condren asked Sobanski if he had any other ideas.

Sobanski pitched a friend’s idea for a reality TV show, and Condren invested another $50,000, according to Sobanski.

Kevin Condren

It was around this point that things began to take a turn for the worse. Despite his promises, Sobanski’s friend never produced a show, leaving Condren in the lurch. Around the same time, Condren and his wife were going through a divorce — and that meant Condren no longer had his dominatrix at his place of business, Sobanski told producers.

Condren allegedly began to threaten Sobanski, apparently seeing him as the cause of many of his problems.

“Kevin wanted me to pay all these debts,” Sobanski told producers. “Every time I would go over to his house, Kevin would try to intimidate me. He would walk towards me with a gun in his hand.”

Condren was convinced the ex-videographer owed him $150,000, according to the Star Tribune, a Minnesota newspaper. In November 2016, he offered a paralegal who worked for him $10,000 to have Sobanski killed.

“Just put it in his ear and pull the trigger,” the paralegal claimed Condren told him, according to police records obtained by CBS News.

The paralegal contacted police, who sent an undercover cop to meet with Condren, posing as a hitman.

“He swindled me. Flat-out swindled me,” Condren can be heard telling the officer in a recording acquired by “Murder for Hire.” “I’d love nothing more than to have one of his fingers or an ear in a jar of alcohol.”

Police contacted Sobanski when they became aware of the threat. However, because they wanted to collect more evidence before arresting him, they continued to track Condren for several months, Sobanski told producers.

Finally, after some unusual activity on Condren’s Facebook page in February 2017, police arrested him on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, according to KARE 11 News, a local television station.

Because of a lack of evidence, however, the charges against Condren were downgraded to “terroristic threats”, Detective Jeff Schoeberl told producers. Condren pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years’ probation.

 “I am guarded,” Sobanski told producers. “I still fear that he’s just going to one day snap and nothing’s going to stop him.”

For more information on this story, tune in to “Murder for Hire.” airing Sundays at 7/6c on Oxygen.

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